Going Viral #9 — Mark 14:1-11

Covid19 has us stuck at home preparing for Easter… but we can mark each day with devotion. Click here if you missed a past day’s reading.


Mark 14:1-11

Take sympathy on those who rebuked the woman. You would have said the same thing (or at least I would have). Consider a year’s wages1. How much do you make in a year? The median US household income was 63,000 (2018).

So pause and picture the scene. A year’s salary is poured on Jesus. Frivolous! Give it to the poor…

And this was Judas’ breaking point: Wasted money. All this talk of coming death. Gracious, we have already become homeless! What was Jesus doing, where is he leading us? I thought he was the Messiah… maybe the Jewish leaders are right?

From our vantage point (on the other side of the cross – the other side of resurrection) Judas is a traitor. A Fool. But in the moment, I see myself in him. And I see a need to submit to God’s plan, rather than my own. May I trust God and rest securely in that embrace.

1 Literally 300 Denarii. For a different perspective in 6:37 the disciples claim 200 denarii will feed the crowd of 5000. How much would it take to feed 5000+ today?, then add 50% to make 300 denarii. (I add “+”, because they only counted the men.)


Deeper: A) This passage is another Markan Sandwich2:

Bread –> 14:1-2 (Leaders plot), Meat –> 14:3-9 (Jesus anointed), Bread –> 14:10-11 (Judas joins leader’s plot)

The Leaders plot, the anointing, Judas’ betrayal. It is all wrapped up together. At first glance it is all wrapped up in money. But really it is all wrapped up by security. The leaders secure their hold on power. The woman placing her trust – her security – in Jesus. Judas rejecting Jesus, chooses the security of the Jewish leaders.

B) “always have the poor”, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 15:11 and the context of the passage in Deuteronomy commands generosity. And earlier, 15:4, states, “However, there need be no poor people among you.” — Jesus, cunning, is saying, “Look! You are not really worried about the poor. If you had wanted to end poverty you would have already done it.” … And that is convicting me! It is easy to say how others should spend their money, much more difficult to radically give my own.

2 Markan Sandwich — A literary device used by Mark throughout his gospel. A sandwich section begins with one narrative (Bread), but it is interrupted with another narrative (Meat), then returns and concludes the original narrative (Bread). Combined, the stories inform one another.

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